Being a mother is an incredible blessing, but it certainly doesn't come without challenges (many of which you can read on this very blog!). However, I have seen one too many news stories lately of mothers doing horrifying things to their children: abuse, abandonment, sometimes even death. It absolutely breaks my heart. Whether these acts are being carried out by frustration, desperation, mental illness, or a combination of the three, I can't help but think that they could've been avoided.
After I had my second son, I went through a bout with postpartum depression. At first, I didn't want to admit what I was feeling because I thought I would be judged. Christians don't suffer from depression, they've just lost their joy in Jesus! Someone put it to me this way: If you have a cold, you go to the doctor and get medicine to feel better. Well, your brain has a cold. So what are you going to do? That took some of the stigma out of it for me. I finally went to my doctor and he prescribed a low-dose anti-depressant that helped within days. I'm not saying drugs are for everyone, but I do want to take some of the shame out of admitting that we moms might need a little more help sometimes. I've since been able to wean myself off and feel better than ever.
There are seasons in our lives that are very busy, and more often than not, our needs will take the backseat to our children's/spouse's. But please, moms, take the time to care for yourself, too. It's okay to take the mommy hat off sometimes (but for goodness sake, remember to put it back on!). Schedule that doctor's appointment that you've been putting off; scrounge up some spare change and go have a manicure. Ask your spouse to give you some time away, and if he can't do it, find a babysitter who can. Can't afford a babysitter? Join or start a co-op with some friends, where you take turns watching each other's children. If all else fails, then by all means, put on a cartoon, lock yourself in the pantry, and eat that last cupcake that you were saving for your kid - trust me, you need it more than he does.
All that to say, we moms have a tough job. There is no shame in admitting it, out loud. Tell a friend, tell your doctor, tell God. Just don't hold it all inside.